New York City’s subway ridership on Monday reached its highest level since the coronavirus pandemic first hit the Big Apple in March, transit officials said this week.
Ridership topped 800,000 on Monday, the same day the city entered its first phase of reopening following a lengthy coronavirus-spurred lockdown, the New York Post, citing transit officials, reported.
“We’ve now hit 15 percent [pre-pandemic] ridership for the first time,” Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg said during a press conference in Manhattan, according to the outlet.
The news comes after New York City officials announced the subway would shut down for a few hours each night for “daily deep cleanings” in an effort to rid the public transportation system of the novel coronavirus and ultimately better protect essential workers who use the service during that time.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in late April announced the new cleaning schedule, noting the trains would shut down from 1 to 5 a.m. every night beginning May 6. The service interruptions mark the first time the subway has stopped running 24 hours a day as part of its regular schedule.
Officials at the time also said that the overnight service will help empty stations of the city’s homeless population, as many had taken up residence on vacant trains amid the drop in ridership.
“Those stations are cleaner than they’ve been in my lifetime,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a daily press briefing on Wednesday. “The cars are now disinfected, [and] the homeless are getting the services they need and are not living in subway systems.”